Clinton was speaking at the unveiling of his new portrait in New York City

Former US President Bill Clinton has expressed his concern about the implications Brexit might have on Northern Ireland.

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Clinton was speaking from his Clinton Foundation headquarters in New York City, where a portrait of himself by Irish artist Colin Davidson was being officially unveiled.

Davidson said the portrait was meant to honor Clinton for his contributions to helping broker peace in Northern Ireland during the 1990s:

‘William Jefferson Clinton’. Painted 2018. Unveiled yesterday in NY. To acknowledge his vital role in our peace process. pic.twitter.com/g7M4LltN5M

— Colin Davidson (@colin_davidson) June 18, 2019

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At the event, Clinton expressed concern about the future of Northern Ireland in the wake of Brexit: “Nobody wants to go back to violence, nobody wants to see this fail, look at the progress we’re still making, look at the progress the economy is still making against all odds, but how can I make the deal until I know what Brexit is?”

“In other words, I think the chances of a unity government go way up once they know what they have to unify about.”

Bill Clinton

"I'm no longer young. And I'm not smiling through a crowd. I'm thinking about the challenges we face, and hoping for tomorrow" - former US president Bill Clinton | https://bit.ly/2MXX8W4

Publiée par RTÉ News sur Mardi 18 juin 2019

Speaking with RTE, Clinton said: “Those who want a hard Brexit are portraying it as the liberation of the UK but if you look at the population trends and the wealth and productivity trends, they could be consigning one of the greatest nations in human history to a smaller role.”

The Irish Times says that Clinton warned that Brexit may “consign one of the greatest nations in human history to a smaller role just so the people who have historically been in control can stay there.”

“The British have much to bring to the EU, to bring to international order, they have much to bring in the fight against terrorism and it all has to be done in a cooperative atmosphere.”

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Clinton added: “the rest of us have to do what we can to save the peace and economy of Northern Ireland for the young people of Northern Ireland.”

At the NYC unveiling of his new portrait, former US President Bill Clinton expressed concern about Brexit.Getty Images